What is income-related ESA?
Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) is a sickness benefit that you can claim if you are unable to work because of sickness.
When you make your claim, a check is carried out by the DWP on your National Insurance record. If you have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the relevant years, you qualify for contribution-based ESA. This will be paid regardless of other income into your household.
If your National Insurance record doesn’t qualify you for contribution based ESA, the DWP carries out a “means test”. They look at what income you have, as well as any savings or capital (over £6,000).
If you don’t have enough to live on, you will be entitled to income-related ESA. Since the introduction of Universal Credit, you cannot, normally, claim income-related ESA. See the information regarding the Severe Disability Premium. If this doesn’t apply to you, you will have to claim Universal Credit instead. Currently there are many people who are still receiving income-related ESA and will continue to do so until the migration to Universal Credit is completed.
Who qualifies for income-related ESA?
If you don’t have enough National Insurance contributions and you don’t have enough money to live on, you might qualify for income-related ESA.
You might be entitled to contribution based ESA and an additional amount of income-related ESA, but this will depend on your circumstances.
If you have received the maximum 365 of contribution based ESA, you might also qualify for income related ESA if you no longer have enough money to live on*.
How do I claim income-related ESA?
You need to complete a form ESA3, as this gives the DWP all the information they need to make a decision about your entitlement to income-related ESA.
How long does income-related ESA last?
Income related ESA will be paid as long as you continue to have a limited capability for work and all other income or capital coming into your household is below the limits set.
*the amount of money needed to live on is defined in law by the government